I mentioned in one of my last posts that Silver Oak launched us on another adventure when he went to build more fence. You may recall that most of our new 20-acre off-grid homestead had fence around the perimeter except along the north side. Since our lot is long and narrow, that means that about 2,500 feet of new fence had to be put in.
From the cross fence behind our house Silver Oak had put in 580 feet of fence several weeks ago before beginning one of the busiest seasons of the year for a landscaper. Our animals found the end of the fence about two weeks ago, and after we recovered them all had to keep them cooped up in the small runway till the fence could be completed. That Saturday Silver Oak determined to finish the fence all the way to the back corner.
But first he had to do something about the keets who were fast outgrowing the brooder. He built a temporary pen of 2×4 wire, covering the top as well to keep the keets from escaping and potential attackers from intruding (although I’d like to see any fox, coon, coyote or bobcat sneak in past our dogs!). Now the keets can get out on the ground and fluff around in the dirt, which they love, and have a lot more room to run around. Since then we’ve opened the door to let them explore outside at will. They still come back “home” to roost at night.
By the time he finished the keets and all the other piled up odds and ends, it was mid-afternoon. He loaded his pick-up with fence posts, barbed wire, tools and his post-hole auger, and headed for the neighbor’s behind us. I got a call from him 10 minutes later, asking me to come pull him out of the sand. He had driven along the bank bordering the canal behind our property and got hopelessly stuck in very deep loose sand.
I met him with the Suburban, but when he pulled around the truck and up the bank, the Suburban got stuck too! Meanwhile a big storm was whipping up. Sand was blowing so hard it looked like rain over the orange groves. We decided to head back home through the woods for shovels. I was wearing flip-flops so we stayed in open areas to avoid snakes. As we went big drops of rain began descending and by the time we reached home we looked like drowned rats.
After about 45 minutes the downpour ended and we headed back out. The rain was a huge blessing because it packed the sand, and without too much trouble we dug the Suburban out. But the truck was down to the rear axle in something that reminded us of quicksand, and the heavy load on the back made things quite a challenge. Even so we did get it out three times, using shovels and fence posts which we placed under the tires for traction, but every time we drove it out it would immediately slide farther down the bank and get stuck again!
Our kind-hearted neighbor came on the scene at that point. The same tractor that had pulled our tiny house out of the sand when we were first bringing it down our winding sandy lane came to the rescue once again. This time the neighbor’s son was the rescuer. What would we do without good neighbors?
It was now about two hours after Silver Oak had started out, but he still managed to get some work done on the fence before dark.
Now we’ve purchased a hitch-mounted winch that we can use with either of our vehicles in the future if we get stuck. It mounts on a plate that slides into a two-inch receiver hitch. It’s versatile and much less expensive than buying four wheel drive vehicles. Maybe next time we won’t need help from our neighbors!
The next Monday Silver Oak stayed home, and he and Farmer Boy worked hard on that fence, finishing up about 8:20 that night. Now the animals could be let out of their small runway! That fence was a major accomplishment! The back eight acres is now completely fenced with barbed wire. Now we just need to add some field fence to keep the goats in as well. It never ends!
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